Friday, September 21, 2012
Lifespans decline for less educated whites
For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990. The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level. White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose. But blacks over all do not live as long as whites, while Hispanics live longer than both whites and blacks. The five-year decline for white women rivals the catastrophic seven-year drop for Russian men in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.